María Tzoy Tiu (32) and her family live at the bottom of a hill in a small community outside Santa Lucía Utatlán in a cluster of houses dotting the countryside. The sprawl of her relatives is endless; María herself cannot count the number of aunts, uncles, in-laws, and parents that make up her family.
“We are many people,” she says. We stand outside her kitchen, and her two-and-a-half-year-old son, Gustavo, clings to her skirt, shyly peeping up from beneath the wide rim of his little straw hat. “So you know, cooking is a challenge.”
María came to know Habitat for Humanity Guatemala in a unique way. “For a long while, we have cooked on a Habitat Guatemala smokeless stove that my in-laws built,” she says. “We loved the design and how well it worked, so we applied for our own.” She also recognized that having two effective cooking stoves rather than one would guarantee that every mouth was fed.
María is also grateful that working with Habitat Guatemala smokeless stoves has proven beneficial in other ways. “We’re fortunate not to have had long-term health problems,” she tells us. “No smoke, no coughing, no colds.”
For the past year, María says that she has been pleased to have a good, functioning stove and that she has enjoyed using it. She recollects that her family and a group of Habitat Guatemala volunteers built the stove. Together, they cut blocks, mix mortar, and arrange it. “They came to build the stove, and they worked very hard. They were friendly, too.” She smiles. “Thanks to them, we can cook more efficiently.”